October, November & December 2018

1915 Pearl Spoon
Paw Paw Wobbler

12/2/18 Ludington, MI
Nice Steelhead!
Photo by Kirk C.

2019 White Lightning
Awesome Pearl Pattern!

Santa & Scruffy
My Christmas Present!

Click here for my first Salmon I caught on Oct. 1, 1968

Archived Daily Log 
(Dating back to the year 2000)

12/31/18  2018 was fraught with boat gremlins that began with the surge brakes in my boat's trailer not functioning.  Then, the double seal on the prop shaft of my kicker/trolling motor began leaking water into the gear lube.
               Worst was my bilge pump's auto switch didn't kick on.  Resulting in submerging the starter motor on the GM V8, rendering it useless.  After the starter was replaced, found out the Merc outdrive had water in it from a failed 1/4" oil plug "O" ring. 
               For 2 years in a row have not able to fish Lk. MI for the late season Steelhead run.  Hoping 2019 will be a great season for everyone!

12/30/18  Goodbye 2018!  This year was fraught with boat gremlins that began with the surge brakes in my boat's trailer failing.  Then, the seal on the prop shaft of my kicker/trolling motor began leaking water into the gear lube.
               Worst was my bilge pump's auto switch didn't kick on.  Resulting in submerging the starter motor, rendering it useless.  After the starter was replaced, found out the outdrive had water in it too from a failed "O" ring.  So, for 2 years in a row was not able to fish Lk. MI for the late season Steelhead run.  Hoping 2019 will be a lot kinder!

12/29/18  50° yesterday morning at 7am was time to cease the moment and get some work done on my boat.  There was a mess left from this fall's mechanical issues.
                My New Years Day project is changing my rods over to 15# test for the early season shallow water program.  Need 6 rods in top notch condition for this fishery.
                Accomplishing tasks now takes the heat off you when season does roll around.  It's entirely feasible to being fishing Lk. MI out of Manistee in 12 weeks, or less.

12/28/18  I'm on point to expand the line of tackle we offer at my webstore at factory direct prices that whip the big box stores hands down and going away.  In 2019 look for mono on 1 lb. spools in 15, 20, 25, and 30 pound test.  Will be adding 300' and 600' spools of 45 pound test copper.  Along with 7 strand stainless steel trolling 30# wire for Dipsys.
                Best part? ...I use what I sell.  Eliminating the guess work on your part!

12/27/18  Some of our 2019 meat heads are in-house and being machined.  Sold out of mag heads in pearl, SUV and glow base colors this year.
                Making plans on adding new items to my webstore for 2019.  Adding 1 pound spools of mono is high on this list.  Will be contacting supplier soon.
               Have a few other irons in the fire that will be revealed in due time.

12/26/18  We need more days like Christmas where there's no daily pressure that amount to a complete day off.  Gave myself a Christmas present yesterday by not turning on any computers, or smart phones.  Pausing technical/electronic slavery at least for a day!
          Hope you had a great Christmas and wishing you a very happy New Year!

12/25/18  Merry Christmas to all.  My Christmas present came directly from Santa as a seasonal Manistee, MI launch ramp pass.  What makes this pass/decal unique? ...it's the number 1 pass for the 2019 season: 1001. Click number 1 ramp permit
               While this might be the number one pass my fish catching skills nowadays are probably in the bottom third.  Catching fish requires water time and that's something I don't have.  My job 1 is to make tackle that catches fish.  Know just about everyone who uses my spoons catch more fish than I do and that's perfectly OK with me.
                     I certainly wouldn't want it the other way around!

12/24/18  Merry Christmas video debuts today.  Click for this new video

12/23/18  Have a great Sunday.  New video update for tomorrow.

12/22/18  Finally the MDNR posted the dismal King return at the Little Manistee Harvest Weir at 1300 fish.  Down from 1768 last year.  According to what I was able to verify online, WI's Strawberry Creek Lk. MI facilities process about 5000 Kings each season.  This is a wide disparity we MI fishermen should be aware of. Click Little Manistee Weir numbers
                 Rightly, or wrongly, our MDNR touts natural reproduction on our side of Lk. MI to sustain the King Salmon fishery.  How's this working out for you?

12/21/18  First day of winter 2018-2019 ...good!  Now the days will gradually get longer.  Short days just throw off my internal clock and being able to accomplish anything outdoors.  Lost almost all of our snow cover and that's good news too.  Have yet to plow snow and that's more good news for yours truly.  It's amazing how warm 40° feels in late December.

12/20/18  Funny how things work out.  My spoon side by side comparison where I show the wiggle, wobble and darting motion of our Salmon Buster™ spoons against other brands is my most popular You Tube video with over 75,000 views.  Not too shabby for a video that I never intended to publish until I seen how plastic versus metal performed better!

12/19/18  Sorting thru my 2018 videos, ran across excellent footage on 4 big spring Kings in the 36" and above class.  Seeing these large silver Kings up close and personal to share with you is what fishing is about.  Probably start editing after the new year.

12/18/18  Time put into the new video and updates, including the shopping cart code at the webstore was well over 4 hours.  Editing video is an intensive process that eats up a lot of time.  Still not happy with most of the video's sound track.  Been working on improving audio.  Have a new passive Rode mic for my GoPro that seems a lot better.

12/17/18  Today is the world debut of our 2019 White Lightning tackle.  To herald this event there's a special 2 for 1 Salmon Buster™ spoon reel-deal. Click for spoon deal
                For 9.95 you'll receive a SB 4.65 and 4.0 spoons.  Retail on one 4.65 spoon is 9.95 after this deal ends.  Our 2 for 1 is a limited time offer.  Only 25 are available.  Here's a video showing the attributes of this 21st century tackle: Click for this video

12/16/18  Productive weekend thus far.  Trying something new to save time on my dual boat battery setup.  Just disconnected the positive terminals to install the trickle chargers.  Autopilot always drawing juice and a few other power vampires being the reason.
                New page to debut the 2019 White Lightning spoon special is coming along nicely.  Doing the layout today and posting a new video too.

12/15/18  Michigan Sea Grant's Ludington Regional Fishery Workshop takes place on January 19, 2019 from 8:45 am thru 2:45 pm.  Doors open at 8:00 am at:
West Shore Community College
Administration and Conference Building
3000 North Stiles Road, Scottville, MI 49454

                         Click here for webpage info and full agenda

12/14/18  2 tasks for today.  Put trickle chargers on my boat's batteries is up 1st.  Since using trickle chargers battery service life has doubled.
                Next is to get off my duff and complete the 2019 White Lightening spoon special at the webstore.  Been holding back enjoying a slower pace on sales.  I've adopted the run my business attitude and not my business running me.  Have a great weekend!

12/13/18  Santa stopped by to check on my early Christmas present, Scruffy the dog.  Santa has dogs at the North Pole too!  Click Santa & Scruffy the Labradoodle
                Was kinda surprised Santa liked to Salmon fish during the Arctic's short summer season.  It was wonderful to be visited by Mr. S. Claus and the reel-meaning of Christmas!

12/12/18  New 2019 White Lightening spoon special will debut in the very near future.  Working on completing a large international order.  Don't want to have more irons in the fire than we can handle comfortably.  Besides, the 2019 season is still a long ways off.
                Do know this new lure tape must to been seen to be appreciated.  Good thing?  This tape was tested last season on 3 boats and proved to be a winner!

12/11/18  Posted a photo of the GoPro Hero 6 used in filming the new 2019 White Lightening video.  Please note the handle that a battery too. Click Hero 6
                These small action cams have a limited battery life.  I'm guessing about 30 minutes to the outside.  Having more juice stored with a handle used to point is very handy.  This accessory battery handle was around 10 bucks on Amazon.

12/10/18  The sun came out for 5 minutes at my place today in Manistee, MI.  Rushed outside to get the 3rd leg of the yet to debut 2019 White Lightening tackle video.
                Unsure of when the editing is done to post on YouTube.  Kind of enjoy not being extra busy at this time of the year.  Just don't have a workforce to handle a lot of orders until after the holidays and new hires help out.

12/9/18  Shot Part II of the new video showing the attributes of the 2019 White Lightening lineup under LED shop lights.  Coming up with some new and better is the story of the Salmon tackle industry.  This new lure tape can only be seen to be appreciated.
              Supposed to be sunny today to complete the III part of this debut video.

12/8/18  My guestimeter snow gauge stands at 25" thus far for the 2018-2019 snow season for Manistee County, MI.  We just had about 7" of the white stuff dumped on my place.  Being inland for Lk. MI about 12-13 miles, this distance allows for the lake effect to kick in while the City of Manistee proper might get just a dusting. 
               Looking forward to the winter solstice (12/21/18) when the days gradually become longer.  Being dark around 5pm cuts the day pretty short.

12/7/18  Today's photo has been hanging around my desk for a while.  Decided to share a photo of a cute gal with a decent King off Frankfort, MI's Point Betsie from mid 1980s when I was a newbie charter skipper just learning the ropes. Click cute gal & decent King
             Notice the approx. 24" leader on a fluted size 0 dodger ...doctored up with lure tape.  This was back in the day when outriggers were very popular. 
             Dipsy Divers had yet to take over the market completely.  Luhr Jensen Deep Sixes were more in vogue back in the middle 1980s.  Along with drop weights.
              Looking back? ...wish that I would have taken more photos in the age of 35mm film.  Seeing moments frozen in time grabs my attention.  This pic was snapped when it happened with very little setup.  Making it a reel-fish picture from 34 years ago!

12/6/18  Working on cleaning up my boat 2019 that begins with straightening out tackle messes from last season.  Had a jumble of spoons all tangled together in plastic tubs screwed to the rigger board.  This saves dropping tackle overboard. Click spoon mess
              My 2018 season left a lot to be desired when it came to mechanical issues with my trailer brakes, bad starter and a outdrive leaking water.  All is fixed now for 2019!

12/5/18  Finally my boat's outdrive is good to go for the 2019 season.  A series of cascading mechanical events are all in shipshape for our early March-April fishery.
              Prep the new season begins when you store your boat for the winter.  Found out the hard way trickle charge battery maintainers will extended the life of your boat's batteries.  Now, I just disconnect the cables, check the water/electrolyte level, and leave the batteries onboard with a trickle charger keeping the batteries fully charged.

12/4/18  Ludington, MI's Capn Kirk sent in a recent photo of a very worthy Steelhead.  New fish pictures that grace this website keeps it fun and interesting. Click Kirk's fish
             Kirk took this Steelhead on the Gold Orange Crush 4.0 Salmon Buster.  This coloration is my number 1 spoon for Steelies hands down and going away.
             It's impossible to say why this pattern draws hits.  There's nothing in the Great Lakes that even resembles it.  Some things defy explanation and this is one of them.  Not everything needs an explanation/theory.  Me? ...I'm just happy it works!

12/3/18  The passing of our 41st President has effected me deeply.  George HW Bush was a member of our greatest generation.  The same one my parents belonged to.
               HW enlisted when he was 18 years old in 1942 out of duty to his country when the issue of WWII had yet to be determined.  He flew 58 combat missions.  Mostly off the deck of the USS San Jacinto in a Grumman TBF Avenger.  This plane had a crew of 3 with a range of 1000 miles carrying a full bomb load of 2000 lbs.  Bush was shot down by flack and the only survivor in 1944 from an attack on Japanese radio station.
              There's a new star shining brightly from President Bush in Angler's Heaven.  Yes, Bush liked to fish both fresh and salt water.  Thank you 41 for your service to the USA!

12/1/18  Hello December 2018!  My early season is about 3 1/2 months away if I can get to Southern Lk. MI for spring Coho fest.

11/30/18  Have a great weekend as November 2018 enters the history books in Manistee, MI as one of the most devoid of sunshine on record.  We've had only 4 days of sunshine lasting more then an hour.  So, my 3 part video on the new White Lightening pattern that shows cloudy, shop light and full sun conditions might not happen, as hoped for.

11/29/18  Made the spoons for the soon to debut White Lightening Salmon Buster™ spoon special.  In the process of shooting a video in cloudy, inside shop lights and outdoor full sun to capture the dramatic color shift of this light reflecting pearl lure tape.
                Nowadays, it's more important than ever to fish with tackle you have confidence in the works in all light conditions!  Stay tuned for more info....

11/28/18  The color pearl has been around for long time in fishing lures.  Know mother of pearl and even clam shells were around in the late 1800s.  Posted a photo of the made in MI Paw Paw Pearl Wobbler that goes back to 1915.
                As a tackle manufacturer I was faced with a choice to purchase a cheapie plain white as a base colorant, or go for the gusto and pay more for pearl.
               Only cheapskates would opt the cheap white color, instead of noticing almost all fish have some level of pearl in their skin, or scales. Click 1915 Paw Paw spoon
               I was 1st turned onto the color pearl by popular Leland charter skipper, Capt. Jack Duffy in the later 1970s.  He showed me what to buy and took it off the rack for me. 
               Making me the proud owner of a pearl Grizzly trolling plug that caught 5 big Kings off Frankfort, MI's Point Betsie the next day!

11/27/18  Spoons won our recent poll with 35% of the vote.  Meat and flasher/fly tied for second at 25% a piece.  Combined the whole and cut to generalize the meat category at a fair sample size of a 100 votes.  To keep the poll fair, one 1 vote per day would be counted.  So, the sample size wasn't compromised by over voting. Click poll page results
                Hope to debut my 2019 White Lightening special soon.  It will be a 4.0 and 4.65 Salmon Buster™ spoon deal at 9.95 for both spoons.  This is like a freebee 4.0 when the retail on the 4.65 White Lightening is 9.95.  This new selection was tested last July & August with excellent results.  This 2019 pattern showed action at depths to a 100' and took hits in the harbor.  Making this multi-colored 21st century spoon a reel-winner!

11/26/18  Day 2 of the poll asking about your best method for adult Salmon.  Be sure to keep in mind this pertains to adult (July/August) fish.  Should have reworded this question long ago, but decided to stick with the original question for continuity.
             I voted for whole bait that is a conundrum, because the way I use it? ...it ends up being cut up onboard.  Looking back 15 years, probably could have worded this poll better. 
            But it is what it is, and changing the question and replies wouldn't keep the sample size correct according to the history of this long running poll.  Click poll yearly results
            This year's poll has a comment section after you vote, or by clicking the "view" button.  Pretty neat to see your feedback.  This is a nice feature!

11/25/18  This is the 15th year for the poll in the top left border asking you what your best method for adult Salmon is?  Click for long running Poll Page
                 Computers were made to amass and store data and that's what this poll is about.  Will this be the season when there's a dramatic shift, or stay mostly unchanged like it has for roughly the last 10 years?  Please vote....

11/24/18  Have a great post Thanksgiving weekend.

11/23/18  Planning stage for 2019 is over and done with.  Now is the time to shift gears into production.  Been working on the new 2019 White Lightening Salmon Buster™ spoons as part of a 2019 tackle special that will debut soon.  Click 2019 White Lightening proof
                This spoon has a pearl base with a beautiful 21st century color shifting multicolor lure tape that wowed me the 1st time I saw it.  Married this tape to pearl on a strong hunch that proved itself last August in Flasher/meat rig™/fly combinations, along with spoons.  So, I know for a reel-fact the White Lightening pattern works!

11/22/18  Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

11/21/18  Replacing the impeller in my spare Mercruiser outdrive is front and center today.  This is an under 20 dollar part that will save you loads of grief during season.
                 Pulled the prop off the outdrive that failed expecting to see mono wrapped around the prop shaft.  None was there.  So, water intrusion came from elsewhere.
                 With the amount of water inside the outdrive was surprised to see it didn't freeze and crack.  That's why is always wise to change this lower unit lube for storage.

11/20/18  Not exactly thrilled about having to remove the outdrive from my 1979 Sea Ray yesterday.  Working in a cold pole barn is not my idea of fun!
                8 nuts with an 1/2" drive impact gun comes off pretty quick.  Prying it loose from the gasket was the hard part.  Now, it's off and that's the good part.
                Have another outdrive to install, but I'm waiting on a new water pump impeller before I can call this job done.  Then, worry about fixing this one next spring.
                There's a lot of dedication involved being a boat owner that transcends any kind of frustration.  Accepting and fixing problems is all part of the game.  Soon to be forgotten when you have a big fish coming to the net!!

11/19/18  Preparation for the 2019 season begins at the end of the 2018 season.  Getting your boat in shipshape should be done before winter's long nap.
                Drained the lower end gear lube in my Mercruiser outdrive yesterday.  Problem was it was all water with very little lube.  This means there was a major seal failure for water egress.  Pulling the prop today to see what's behind the propeller?
               Silver lining to this costly issue? ...have all winter to make sure no days of the early March/April Lk. MI season will be missed. 

11/17/18  Have great Saturday and Sunday.  Winter in Manistee means snow.  Lately wet sticky snow on my satellite dish have prevented early morning updates.

11/16/18  The 9" Simrad I have does a fair job on 455 kHz side scan (with nothing previous to compare it to).  Side scan vertical slashes are supposed to be fish, reinforced with a double echo behind the 1st slash from what I learned on YouTube.
                Side scan over deep water has yet to show me anything but lumps of bait.
                Simrad down-vision deep water performance is scrap compared to my Raymarine C127.  GPS does a what it should as a plotter navigational system.  Touch screen is a mixed blessing.  Yes, easy to operate ...if you like glaring at fingerprints all day?
               Sonar is our greatest tool to get dialed in.  Back in the 1970s there was talk about outlawing paper graphs/sonar that was a huge leap forward.  My 1st paper graph was 6" Mecca (purchased in 1979) that opened my underwater eyes beyond belief!          

11/15/18  MI firearms deer season begins today.  Have a safe hunt and good luck!

11/14/18  Interpreting side scan sonar has been a game of guesses for me.  Knowing fish we're after are not stationary targets and constantly on the move is part of the reason.
                 Today's featured pic is from Manistee, MI off Orchard Beach State Park, a few miles N of Manistee's harbor.  Rocks/boulders appear as lumps on the bottom.  Fish are just short slashes unless it's a lump of bait that tends to stay put.
                 My side scan works best on the starboard side.  Port side is semi obstructed by the outdrive.  Plan for 2019 is to raise the outdrive to get a better picture both ways.

11/13/18  Keep waiting for the MDNR to post the number of this year's run Kings at the Little Manistee Harvest Weir.  Approaching mid-November and no report yet.
                Do have an interesting commentary to share with you when the final numbers come out.  Last year there was 1,768 Kings captured with double that number for Coho.  1.7k is a dismal number.  Even though that was a minor increase over 2016.
                           Click Little Manistee Weir data 1968-2017

11/12/18  My season's end came way too early this year around Labor Day due to a bad starter on the GM 350 V8.  Our Labradoodle pups came on 9/9/18 and raising this litter ate up a lot of time.  Reward was the beautiful smart puppies that went to good homes.
               Late season Lk. MI season fishing is a better choice for me when the tackle business slows down.  Late season supplies a window to see the potential into the next year.  Last year, in late September marked a lot of bait that carried into this one.

11/11/18  Winter has given us a sneak peek of what's to come.  About 4 inches of wet snow has fell in Manistee, MI.  Weather looks like there will be some snow left on the opener of firearms deer season that begins this Thursday.  Click 1st snow of 2018-2019

11/10/18  1st snow of the 2018-2019 season for Manistee County, MI.  There's about 3" on the ground and a lot more in front of us before spring 2019 breaks.

11/9/18  Submitted my order for more meat heads and 4.0 Salmon Buster™ spoons.  There's 12 base injection molded-in spoon colors that must be kept track of to make sure everything is ready to go for 2019.  This is where continuity plays a big part to make sure there's a perfect color match.  Factoring in ...you only get one chance to do it. 
             No do-overs, because once the tackle has been made? ...what you see is what get.  Colorant prices have doubled since I went into the tackle business 15 years ago.  This why the ordering process takes me a week to all my ducks in a row.

11/8/18  Ordering more meat heads and 4.0 spoons for 2019 from my injection molding company is on tap for today.  This requires a full inventory search to make sure nothing is overlooked.  Sounds easier than it is with the many base colors that's in my product line.
              This is called check and double check.  Then, build an itemized spreadsheet to submit.  In about 3 weeks (or less) should have the 2019 stock in-house.

11/7/18  Bill Schuette (R) was defeated in the MI governor's race.  Schuette put a lot of effort into fighting the Chicago pathway of Asian Carp on behalf of all MI fishermen.  He would have made a good MI governor, but the Flint water crisis was too much to overcome.
              A new governor generally means new leadership at the MDNR.  It will be interesting to see if our current Fishery Chief Jim Dexter stays or goes.  Dexter sold us down the river by giving other states a lion's share of the Lk. MI King plant.

11/6/18  Please go vote if you've yet to cast your ballot!

11/5/18  Changing the clock to fall back is easy.  Changing your internal clock is not, if you're an early riser.  Woke up at 3:30am this morning out of sync.
               Happy to see the election over tomorrow.  Been besieged with robo calls from both sides.  Even though, voted by absentee ballot weeks ago.
               If you're waiting for the government, or any political party to save you?  You're in for a long wait.  The dualopoly/monopoly Rs and Ds cycles, as the party in charge proves they're just not up to the job.  Then, the letter changes.  That's why I'm an independent.

11/4/18  Fall back time switch happened last night as we transitioned from Daylight Saving Time to Eastern Standard Time.  Gained back the hour we lost last spring. 
               Asian beetles are MIA for now.  These insects that look like lady bugs have yet to swarm.  1000s of them crawl into my pole barn and are a pain in the butt.
              Hopefully, the coming cold weather will keep this awful nuisance in check!

11/3/18  Have a great weekend!

11/2/18  With the firearms MI deer season a couple of weeks away, posted a link to our MDNR's recent informational webpage on CWD.  Click for this info laden article
              CWD looks to be 2 counties away from Manistee from the DNR's requested sample area.  Big issue is getting rid of the carcass when you home process deer.  Now the carcasses have to be buried.  So, this is a good reason to use a commercial processor.
              The future of deer hunting is in the hunter's hands to curb deadly CWD! 

11/1/18  John J took a decent 8 point with his cross bow not too long ago.  This is great news for boat snacks next season.  Venison salami is excellent with cheese and crackers.
               John has most of his deer turned into salami.  Along with cheese hot sticks that are yummy too.  Ebels General Store in Falmouth, MI does an excellent job on processed meats.  John J is the most consistent deer hunter I ever met and can flat out hunt!

10/31/18  Observation should always be one of your strong suits.  Watched 1000s of Kings come to the boat over the years.  Direction fish go depends on which side of the mouth they got the hooks stuck in.  Salmon that run starboard almost always have the hook in the right side of the jaw.  Same goes for fish that scoots off to the portside.
                 This is all well and fine, but when fish changes direction and are spoon hooked fish ...the spoon can act like a pry bar.  Freeing your adversary while the you learn what the agony of defeat feels like, and so does your crew.
                 From now on, will be running more west coast rigged single hooks that have a swivel to negate the hook from being wedged out for summer adult Kings.  This is already a spoon option and considering selling single siwash hooks with installed swivels.
                 There's a tremendous difference in hooking and landing 5-10-15 pound fish compared to over 20 pound class big adult summer Kings.  Photo coming soon on hook gaps.

10/30/18  A surge of late season business had me in the shop building tackle and shipping orders till late last evening.  So, today's planned update is postponed until tomorrow.
               Do know what I have to share with you is very-very important.   Explaining my observations and fixes to losing big summer Kings is one of my best updates for 2018!

10/29/18  I've resigned myself to the reel-fact the possibility of getting 20-30 hits/bites per trip like we used to, does not reflect the current state of our Lk. MI King Salmon fishery.
                That's why it's triple important to land at least 80% of the fish you get a hold of.  Lost as couple of heartbreakers last August.  Most memorable was a King outside the harbor that was a giant.  This King bulldozed 450' off the reel on 30# test with a hard snubbed down drag.  Wayne J. and I worked this fish within 75' of the boat. 
               Then, only to have the hook plop free.  You know, that sickening feeling that happens after you've invested 20 some minutes in a tough slugfest and come out the loser. 
              Tomorrow the answer "why" after careful thought and observation.

10/28/18  Have a great Sunday.  Tomorrow's topic is my biggest disappoints in 2018 and a course of action on how to cure them.

10/27/18  For the last 2 weeks, October 2018 has been cold chilly with daytime high temps running about 10°-15° below what's considered normal.  This makes it increasing difficult to get fired up about trying to squeeze another day, or two on Lk. MI. 
                Haven't called it quits on the 2018 big lake season yet, but it's getting close to throwing in the towel.  Have a great weekend!

10/26/18  In August 2003, well before the fleet was clued in on how effective meat was, I was laying the ground work from my transition from a charter boast skipper to a tackle manufacturer.  My catch rates per hour with meat rigs™ had skyrocketed well beyond the fleet norm.  But there was still room for improvement. Click 2003 log with pics
                Was dropping too many fish on the divers.  Not even close to 50%.  That's when I developed tandem snelled trebles with a hand -tuned bent turned-up eye.  These dual trebles raised strike ratio to landed fish to 80% on the divers.  A bigtime improvement!
               I have since reconfigured the snell knot without the hassle of bending the turned up eye that ruined a lot of hooks.  Coming up double trebles on meat rigs™ is where necessity met the mother of invention. Click dual trebles on the job

10/25/18  Technical issues today in computerville has postponed today's mini history lesson on how I came up with snelled trebles back in 2003.  Reel story tomorrow.

10/24/18  Training help today and going over the fine points to ensure product continuity.  Sounds easier then it is, because we all work a little different.  With this being skilled hand work, there's no affordable machine to snell our popular double trebles for meat rigs™.
                Being the first to do this don't count for much.  Knowing I was the first to make them and redesign 3 fly meat rigs™ with replaceable hooks/leaders gives me great personal satisfaction.  That fits into yesterday's theme of seeing a problem, then fixing it!

10/23/18  Posted a photo of my fix to the bilge pump auto-on float switch ever being stuck again.  This forever MacGyver fix is tape, Scotch Brite pad, and a zip tie that will act as a strainer.  Keeping out dirt, oil and gunk that lives in the bilge. Click for this fix
                Learned the hard way when the boat flooded dockside during a hard overnight rain.  This raised the water level and submerged the starter that ceased to function.
                New starter is in and boat is ready for a late season trip, or 2 when the right weather comes along.  Hopefully, that will happen soon!

10/22/18  Came up with a fix for the issue that were responsible for my engine starter woes.  This makes sure the auto switch will always work with a piece of Scotch Brite that will act like a strainer to keep dirt and gunk from jamming that float switch.  Will post a photo of my unique contraption soon.

10/20/18  Looks like a brief window to fish Lk. MI out of Manistee this coming Thursday.  If this forecast holds?  I'm going for it!
                                       Have a great weekend!

10/19/18  Here's a direct quote from our MDNR about CWD being found in Michigan's UP:

"Deer tests positive for CWD in Dickinson County

A 4-year-old doe killed on a deer damage shooting permit in Dickinson County’s Waucedah Township has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, marking the first confirmation of the incurable deer disease within Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
               The finding was verified by Michigan State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in East Lansing and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.
       The deer was shot on an agricultural farm about 4 miles from the MI-WI border."

10/18/18  Brrrrr, 25° last night in Manistee, MI where I live.  So far, October has been below normal for average temperatures.  May I add, wet and rainy too!
                Chances are looking pretty grim for another Lk. MI trip and dwindling daily.  This time of the year is always windy on the big pond and good days are few and far between. 

10/17/18  Next up will be reporting on how many Kings returned to the Little Manistee Harvest Weir.  This is hard data that goes back to the late 1960s.  From my estimation which is probably totally wrong, less than last year is my prediction. 
               With the caveat that size is way up from a few short years ago.  Guess, we'll have to wait and see what the numbers are when they come out by the end of this month.

10/16/18  Filled out the forms and sent in my data gathered during the 2017 season for the Salmon Ambassador program.  My results were lackluster to say the least.  Averaging about .7 Kings per hour based on a 3 hour trip with lines in the water from April into Sept. 
                3 hours of fishing amounts to 5 hours being away from my tackle manufacturing operation.  That's about all I can spare and still make our same day shipping policy.
                Take into account the majority of the trips were the evening shift that never saw the same action the early riser sunrise fleet had.

10/15/18  Election 2018 my wife and I voted by absentee ballot.  I do not discuss, or tell my wife how to vote and we really don't discuss what went into our envelopes.  Being married for over 50 years, one thing you never do, is to tell any women what to do!!  This is easily understood if you put the shoe on other foot with her telling you how to vote.
                Did vote to legalize Marihuana, because you cannot legislate morality.  Our government has been fighting this losing battle since the 1960s.  Spending billions of dollars on prosecuting offenders.  Not to mention the 30 some grand a year it costs to keep pot dealers in the clink.  It's time to turn this into a revenue stream that will enrich our state's treasury.  Nope, I don't plan on buying any pot.  This kind of stuff loses it's appeal when you're a senior citizen with important things to do.

10/12/18  Fall's spectacular colors are close to their peak in Manistee, MI. 
                                       Have a great weekend!

10/11/18  This year's acorn crop around my place in Manistee County, MI is very heavy.  Both the white and red oaks have dropped enough to cover the ground in some places.
                Natural food for deer will come into play with the MDNR banning bait piles to battle CWD.  This sounds like a good idea unless you've watched deer feeding on pine trees in the winter like I have.  Deer all suckle off the same branches.  While banning baiting sounds good.  In reality, it might slow down the spread of CWD, but it's sure not the complete answer to this devastating problem.

10/10/18  80° days in October are few & far between.  This made my annual trip to Pine Creek to check out the Salmon spawning ritual extra appreciated. Click Pine Creek pic
                Take this with a grain of salt, because it's not very scientific.  Did see a few more Kings this year and size was up over past years going back to 2007. 
                Today's featured photo of Pine Creek is the exact spot I've taken yearly photos in a 12 year time study.  Did see a few fresh run Kings too. Click Pine Creek time study

10/9/18  Nice weather side tracked me yesterday.  Moved my puppies from their whelping box to a larger pen inside my pole barn.  These are really nice well mannered docile puppies.  In the process of cage training them to make potty training easier for the new owners.
               Buttoning up a few loose ends on my boat and sorting tackle to make sure I have a dedicated top 10' surface program ready to roll.
               Will make a concerted effort today to visit Pine Creek.

10/8/18  In October of 2007 began a photo time study of Pine Creek.  Been shooting the same section of a gravel bar on the E side of the bridge every year since.  Plan for today is to make a quick trip to revisit this Salmon Spawning stream.  Click Pine Creek Article

10/6-7/18  Interesting video update for this weekend on Great Lakes spawning Salmon.
                                           Click here for this video

10/5/18  Gearing up for fall Steelhead fishing on LK. MI.  Need to re-spool some of my reels with 15 pound test for surface lines (off the boards).
               Know there's a good 6 weeks of season left.  Now, it's a watch and wait for right conditions.  Meaning fairly calm seas that don't happen very often, as fall transitions towards winter.  Feels good to my boat fixed with something to look forward to.

10/4/18  Looking for a window for my next Lk. MI trip.  After today, rain is predicted until next Friday.  So, I'll keep looking and be ready when weather improves.
              Decided to install a backup bilge pump.  2 is better than 1 and this extra measure of safety eliminates that bad starter issue I've been dealing with the last 2 weeks.
              Marine starters for GM V8s are very reasonable.  Like 70 bucks shipped.  Fly in the ointment is the first one arrived damaged.  Then, had to order another one, adding more days to a project that should have been done and over with last week.

10/3/18  Inventory day for what's left in-stock for meat heads.  Know we're dreadfully low on most colors.  Need to do this in the very near future, because it takes about 3 weeks after I submit my order for heads to the injection molding company.  Then, machining the heads will take weeks at a reasonable pace to make sure we have heads for 2019.  Heads are a large portion of our yearly sales.  So, this must be dealt with expeditiously.

10/2/18  Fixing boat issues begins with the root cause.  I'm speaking of my starter on a GM V8 that was submerged due to high water in the bilge.
              Upgrading the bilge pump to an all-in-one, that has the float switch as a part of the pump (built in) that don't rely on a separate flipper switch to trigger auto operation.  Going from a 500 to a 750 GPH is another nice feature once the new pump is installed.
              Overlooking the initial problem will not come back and haunt me again.  Changing the starter is no big deal.  Getting at the bolts up-underneath the motor is.

1/10/18  October starts the last quarter of 2018.  This means website maintenance for the archived past results section that dates back to 2000.  Having logged 18 years of daily updates is an excellent source of reference material.  Can read what happened years ago and compare it to the current state of our fishery.  This keeps postings accurate when I need to look back in time and come up with another reel-story! Click for Past Results

9/30/18  The MDNR is trying to reestablish Arctic Grayling in MI.  MI and Montana are the only 2 states in the lower 48 to have this specie.  The MI strain of Grayling went extinct in the 1930s for a number of reasons.  Probably mostly deforestation and the introduction of other species of river/stream trout. Click for the MDNR article

9/29/18  Self inflicted wounds when it comes to owning a boat are the hardest to take.  Knew my auto float bilge pump switch was iffy.  Neglected this when my boat was at Pier 1 Marina in August.  Heavy rains toward the end on the month flooded the bilge.  Submerging the starter and ruining it.  So, now have to deal with replacing it this weekend.

9/28/18  Spent most of yesterday afternoon doing a thorough scrub on the hull.  It's been the best part of 2 years since this was last done.  Used the toilet bowl cleaner "Works" remove the waterline built up crude and water spots.  Be sure to wear rubber gloves when using this chemical toilet bowl cleaner that contains 9.5% hydrochloric acid.
               Used Soft Scrub on the tough spots.  Then, washed the boat with Dawn.  Used a pressure washer for a squeaky clean rinse and to blast away any stubborn spots.
               It has to be labor of love to keeping your boat clean.  It's a never ending job and you're probably the only one to ever notice the cleanliness.  For me? ...it's the pride of being a boat owner.  My truck/tow vehicle receives much less TLC!

9/27/18  Walleyes in the extreme south end of Lk. MI is something you don't hear about very often.  Local E Chicago, IN angler, Tom M took a 8 lb. plus Walleye on the Frog Meat Rig™ combo while fishing out of Pastrick Marina.  Click S Lk. MI Walleye
               Gained experience in this area in April of 2017.  So, know first hand where Tom is fishing most of the time.  Traveling to new ports creates a broader understanding and sure helps when it comes time to share info with you.

9/26/18  According to Wikipedia: Lake Michigan is 22,404 sq. mi.  Wisconsin has  7,358 square miles.  Michigan has 13,237 square miles of Lk. MI (almost twice as much as WI).
              In 2017 WI planted 779,861 Kings/Chinooks.  In 2017 MI planted 332,133 Kings.  So, my State of Michigan with about twice the surface area of Lk. MI (compared to WI) plants approximately only around 40-45% of what WI stocks.  Click for proof
                       Sounds like the MDNR's strong suit isn't basic math!

9/25/18  Steve S who fishes out of Kewaunee, WI got into some decent fishing yesterday.  They caught 5 fish over 400' feet of water 3 Steelhead, a King and a jumbo Coho that went 14 pounds. Click Steve's personal best Coho
              Good to see fishermen still fishing & thank him for the use of his photo.  My boat is laid up with a bad starter that will be fixed soon and have some late season fishing plans.

9/24/18  2 weeks ago our female AKC/CKC Chocolate Lab, Kat gave birth to 10 Chocolate Labradoodle puppies.  The sire/father was from our CKC Chocolate Standard Poodle, Buster. These are CKC registered dogs and have their litter registration in-hand.
               Kat is one of the smartest, most obedient Labs and has the best cost of all the Labs we've owned since 1983.  So, we know Labs from experience.  Buster is our 1st Standard Poodle and is a fine dog in his own right. Click Kat and Buster's website
               Around the middle of October these pups will be ready for their new homes.  Right now, they weigh about 2 1/2 pounds and all have a stunning shiny Chocolate coat like their mom.  Both parents are DNA tested.  We have 3 males and 6 females left at this time. 

9/22/18  Mentioned back on the 19th about the changing of the guard in MDNR that will probably happen after this November's election when a new governor is sworn in.  Potential incoming new fisheries chief will have his own course of action that might bode well for us.
              I don't have a crystal ball when it comes to the bait population in LK. MI, but do know there's been plenty of it off the Port of Manistee, MI.  Do know increased stocking does not translate into more fish.  Seen this fail in the late 1980's BKD crises. 
              So, I predict we'll see a small increase on the King stocking levels for most MI ports in the next year, or two.

9/21/18  Summer 2018 officially ends tonight as Fall 2018 will be here tomorrow.  Why does summer go by so fast and winter last so long?  This is an unanswerable question, because in Manistee, MI we get 6-7 months of pretty decent weather.  Rest no so much!
                Guess the important thing is we made it thru another hectic summer rush when we get crushed with orders for no worse the wear.  July and August is when we sell the most tackle.  Not quite exceeding what's done in the other 10 months. 
               Seen lots of people not able to handle the increased pressure like deckhands and employees that get a few bucks ahead and decide to get lazy and quit.  Lazy don't work if you're reel serious about fishing business.

9/20/18  Finished a 10 page website that will debut this coming Monday.  While it's on the web now, know more re-writes and proof reading is in order.
              Big S blow on Lk. MI today.  Wind howled all night long at my place.

9/19/18  This fall's election will usher in a new governor in the State of MI.  This probably means a shake up at MDNR with new leadership.  I'm in the hopes a new fishery chief will look more favorably on Lk. MI Salmon fishery and increase the stocking levels some.
              Current MDNR Fisheries Chief, Dexter has cut the Chinook/King plants to all time lows.  Agreeing that the State of MI plants less Salmon than WI according tom the information I read a while back.  Fair is fair, but allowing any state not to share in the pie equally goes against the founding principals of our country!

9/19/18  East Chicago, IN is still producing a few Kings according to website member, Tom M.  Know exactly where he fishing and that has to be all warm water.  Catching adult Kings on meat in warm water and Pike is a skill set I've yet to master.  Click for Tom's fish
              My season is on hold for a while.  Plan on more trips in October when Lk. MI Steelhead become more plentiful.  Still plenty of season left for the diehards.

9/18/18  Communication comes in many forms nowadays.  Back in the days of 1968 when I began fishing the Great Lakes, we were all learning how to catch Salmon.  There was no baseline established.  We got our information face to face from fishermen that were successful.  And it was shared openly with great camaraderie.
               In the mid 1970s CB radio were on most boats.  Talking boat to boat was a great step forward.  By the later 1970s marine band radios came down in price a lot.
               By listening to marine radio, channel 10 in Frankfort, forefathers of our fleet like Capt. Mike Bradley Sr. communicated openly with other charter boats.  Pro info being shared with the entire fleet, yes.  Listening the charter skippers handed you the whole ball game.
               What a change from today where good info has went underground thru cell phones.  Marine band radio traffic today does not carry the importance it once did.
               Let's not forget the internet that has a wealth of information when you visit the right sites.  Now, all the tools to be successful are out there to be snatched up.

9/17/18  Postponed until later today if time allows...  Lost most of this day with a visit t my eye doctor here in Manistee.

9/15/18  Have a beautiful weekend.  Don't have many like this left with temps in the 80s.  Be back Monday with the interesting history of communication that goes back to 1968.

9/14/18  Hectic week, lots going on as we look forward to the 2019 season.  Long list of things to do.  Restocking meat heads is the 1st priority.  We're almost out of stock on most colors, so this has to be dealt with between now and Christmas. 
              Happy Friday, enjoy what's left of summer by making time for yourself!

9/13/18  Let's see, in the left border Montana to Canada and points in between are covered with catch photos.  This shows how universal fishing is.  Fishing transcends race, religion, politics, language and gender.  This is a great common denominator for mankind.
               People that passionately like to fish do not attack schools, nightclubs, or outdoor concerts.  So, maybe the greatest benefit of fishing is it keeps us centered on the reel important things in life.  Like where in the heck? ... are we gonna get our next bite?

9/12/18  Today's featured photo is from Ludington, MI's Capn. Kirk with a respectable morning catch of 3 Kings and 2 very chunky Coho.  He caught these fish towards Big Point Sable & the bathhouse in a small pocket of cold water down 40'.  His flavor of the day was my 4.0 Salmon Buster™ spoons in the Icy Blue pattern. Click Capn. Kirk's catch
              Kirk is one of the best in Ludington's sport fleet and is far more effective fishing my spoons that I am.  Guess I need to know where he keeps his rabbit's foot. 
              Just kidding, Kirk catches from years and years of experience at his home port.  Know he's one of the very best early and late season on Lk. MI fishermen too!
              Known Kirk for about 15 years that began with him being my UPS daily driver. 
He always took the extra steps when we had incoming shipments or package pickups.

9/11/18  Counted the photos sent in from website viewers.  There's 12 pics that tell us their reel-story.  Having viewership share their results is what keeps this website fresh.
               This site would be monotonous, if it was just about me.  It's not!  It's about the failures and successes that we, ...the big water fishing fleet face everyday.

9/10/18  Here's the reel-story about trophy Lake Trout.  We pickup the conversation from Darin when he wanted to know what hooks and sizes used on Salmon Buster™ spoons: 

"Thanks for the info. They (Lake Trout) were from Lake Nipigon in Ontario.

We fished on Nipigon in the middle of July. On the cloudy day, your gold/gold spoon was the ticket. We caught four out of five lake trout with that one. Trolling 45 to 60 feet down with speeds of 2.5 to 2.7 mph. Those were all on downriggers. Click Jumbo 20& 30# LTs
              The next day was full of sunshine and the white ghost spoon was the one that caught five out of eight trout.  We also caught fish on the shad minnow spoon (Skinny Minnie), blue/white (XG Bluetail) and orange crush with gold back.  Same trolling speeds but they wanted the Dipsy Diver. Fished about 50 feet down.  Darin "

Best part? ...all the photos today in the left border were sent in by viewers of this website!

9/9/18  Yesterday's strong E wind curtailed a lot of the Manistee fleet's activity to around the pier heads.  Seen a good number of boats on harbor patrol at 10am, but no nets going down. Hope they had a good morning bite, cause what I seen wasn't much.

9/8/18  Have a great weekend.  Did speak with Ludington, MI's Capn. Kirk.  He fished N and found a pocket of cold 41° water at 40' down and boxed a nice mixed bag of Coho and Kings.  This is a big improvement over last year's Lk. MI September production.

9/7/18  Finishing out this week with another guest fish report Tom M who was featured yesterday.  He had this to say about his 9/5/18 solo trip out of E Chicago, IN:

            "John, Got out this morning by myself picked up these three on your green frog meat rig. Lost 3 too ...at the back of the boat trying to net them by myself.  Pretty tough to do for me when they're decent fish!"  Click for his jumbo Kings

9/6/18  Truth is stranger than fiction is born out in today's reel-story from Tom M.  Tom fishes out of E Chicago, IN on the S end of Lk. MI.  Known Tom since 2004 when he was the 1st to introduce meat fishing to his port and was a ahead of the rest of his home boys.
            Today's photos from Tom on 9/3/18 shows a Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass, Sheephead and a King he caught off the "wall" at Pastrick Marina.  These fish all hit the XG-Green Frog 12" combo.  Plus, stomach contents showing a pile of partially digested Alewives.
                                   Click Tom's 5 in 1 mixed bag photos

9/5/18  Longtime message board member, going back to the early 2000s, Steve T is an asset to all.  He always shares the straight skinny on his success, or lack thereof. 
             Steve has a Cherokee similar to what used in the charter business docked in Arcadia, MI.  Steve's Labor Day report echoes what I wrote on 9/1/18 with plus 100' to 140' deep fish.  He used flasher/fly combinations to boat Coho not quite 12 pounds off his home port.  Along with catching a nice mixed bag consisting of a Laker, Coho and King Salmon.
                                 Click Steve's Labor Day extra Phat Coho

9/4/18  Whew! Almost made it thru my 35th primetime season in the fishing business that dates back to 1983.  20 years as a Great Lakes and rivers guide/charter skipper and 15 years as a tackle manufacturer has whizzed by way too fast!
             While crunch time is over, this season has a long ways to go.  Fall fishing is a favorite of mine.  The crowds are gone, but not the fish!
            Last year got into some reel-big Coho towards the end of this month.  Largest Coho was around 17 pounds and all were better that 12 pounds.  A 12 lb. Coho is a State of MI Master Angler sized fish.  Steelhead in the big lake happens in Oct/Nov too.

9/3/18  Last day of our less than perfect Labor Day Weekend.  If the wind didn't keep you dockside? ...the thunderstorms did.  Wettest Labor Day in my recent memory.
             Then, to complicate matters even further, a barrage of S wind has driven the thermocline reel-deep.  September is known for wind and the time warm water stacks up in central Lk. MI ports.  Too bad the unofficial end of summer was a bummer!

9/2/18  Customer testimonials are always good to hear.  Today's is from Montana' Fort Peck Reservoir part of the Missouri River system.  Montana plants about 300,000 Kings that are landlocked.  Their main feed supply is ciscoes.  Here's what Levi P. had to say:

"It's been a tough fishing year here in Fort Peck Reservoir in Montana but the 2017 special spoon pack I bought has saved the trip!! Just wanted to say thanks again, it was great buying from you guys.  I tell everyone I can about the spoons!" Click Montana Kings

Continued below back to the year 2000:

2018 Results
January, February & March
April, May, & June

July, August & September
October, November & December

2017 Results
January, February & March
April, June & June
July, August, & September
October, November & December

2016 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

2015 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June
July, August & September

2014 Results
October, November, & December
January, February, & March
April, May, & June

July, August, & September

2013 Results
January, February, & March

April, May, & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

2012 Results
January, February, & March
April, May & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

2011 Results
January, February, & March
April, May, & June

July, August & September
 October, November, & December

2010 Results
January, February, & March

April, May & June
July, August & September
October, November & December

2009 Results
January, February & March
April, May & June
July, August, & September
October, November, & December


2008 Results
October, November & December

July, August, & September
April, May & June
January, February & March

2007 Results
October November & December
July, August & September

April, May & June
January, February & March

2006 Results
October, November & December
July, August & September
April, May & June
January, February & March

2005 Results
October, November & December
July August & September
April May & June
January February & March

2004 Results
October, November & December
August & September 
June & July  April & May
January, February & March

2003 Results
Jan Feb  Mar  April & May
June & July  Aug & Sept

Nov & Dec

2002 Results
Nov & Dec  Oct  Sept  
Aug   July   June  May  
April  March  Feb  Jan

2001 Results
April Brown Trout  
May & June
July Salmon
Aug. Tuna Time

2000 Results
Dec. Nov.
   Oct.  Sept.
July   June
May  March & April
January  February